The University of Kentucky had six of their former players enter the NFL this year. Quarterback Will Levis, running back Chris Rodriguez Jr., and cornerback Carrington Valentine were all drafted, going in the second, sixth, and seventh rounds respectively.
Levis was drafted as the 33rd overall pick, with the Tennessee Titans taking him in the second round after what was an embarrassing slip from the first round given the top 10 projections plus the fact that he showed up to the first night’s event looking all dapper.
Rodriguez is with the Washington Commanders. The team – now under new management following the sale of the team to a consortium led by Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris and also including former Los Angeles Lakers superstar Magic Johnson – is aiming for a rebuild and must be hoping that the rookie RB can be part of it.
Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers selected Valentine as the No. 232 pick, who are also in transition mode given the departure of four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers during the offseason.
Three other players also signed deals with NFL teams, though they didn’t go pro via the route of the draft. Linebacker DeAndre Square got a deal with the Los Angeles Rams while offensive lineman Tashawn Manning signed with the Baltimore Ravens. Safety Keidron Smith would also get an opportunity with the Miami Dolphins.
With nearly 12 weeks of action completed since they all entered the league, let’s take a look at how their careers are going so far.
Levis has since landed the starting quarterback job in Tennessee, grabbing his opportunity following an injury to veteran Ryan Tannehill.
He has played in four games for the team this season, passing for 857 yards and six touchdowns, as well as two interceptions. While the Titans are holding up the NFC South with a 3-7 record, Levis is an attractive betting prospect as he threw for four touchdowns in his debut, becoming just the third player to pass for four or more TDs in their first game in NFL history.
His performance also led to a win against the Atlanta Falcons. UK fans using sports betting apps in Kentucky will likely be paying attention to the former wildcat as his remarkable arm strength means he can go off in a random game.
While Tannehill has returned from injury, Levis remains the starter for the time being. The Titans will be in action against the Carolina Panthers this Sunday.
Chris Rodriguez Jr.
Chris Rodriguez Jr. has played in nine games so far this season, but he hasn’t gotten a start as yet. So far, the rookie has registered a total of 104 yards on 20 carries with an average of 5.2 yards per attempt.
He ran for 43 yards on six carries and caught a pass for five yards in his latest outing. However, he also made a fumble which contributed to the six turnovers the Commanders coughed up against the New York Giants.
The 43 yards he logged on Sunday count as his best rushing output to this point. He does appear to have a bright future with the team as offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is thought to be really high on him.
Valentine is becoming a star with the Packers, having played in 10 games so far this season, starting six. He has made a total of 21 tackles so far, with 17 of them solo.
The 22-year-old had a memorable outing against the Rams earlier in November and was a standout player during the 20-3 victory as he defended three passes and made a pair of tackles.
Square has been quite unfortunate as he’s been injured. The linebacker reached an injury settlement with the Rams in September.
He would have missed the entire season but has reached a settlement instead and will be free to look for another team once he’s able to play. His injury was not disclosed.
Tashawn Manning is on the Ravens’ practice squad. But he has an incredible story as he’s overcome cancer to make it this far. The former UK star was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia shortly after high school but has put together a college career and will have opportunities to make it onto an active NFL roster.
Smith didn’t make the Dolphins 53-man roster. He worked out for the Titans earlier in November.